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A Voice for Our Ocean

House Demonstrates Protection of Our Ocean is Bipartisan Priority

Bipartisan bills to ban drilling off Atlantic, Pacific coasts and Eastern Gulf pass U.S. House of Representatives

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The following statement was issued by Ocean Conservancy’s CEO Janis Searles Jones (@InVeritas_Jones) in reaction to the passage of H.R. 205 sponsored by Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) and H.R. 1941 sponsored by Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) in the U.S. House of Representatives today:

“Ocean Conservancy celebrates the overwhelming bipartisan support received by The Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act (H.R. 205) and The Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act (H.R. 1941) in the House.

“By passing these bills, House members are putting their constituents first. Coastal residents have been saying all along that our ocean is not worth risking for reckless, unnecessary and irresponsible expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling.

“This moment is an important milestone in our fight to protect an irreplaceable natural resource that not only anchors $352 billion of the national GDP but also provides food, recreation and inspiration for millions of us.

“We thank Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) and Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) for sponsoring these two bills that could permanently protect the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as well as the Eastern Gulf of Mexico from drilling.

“As we celebrate the passage of legislation to protect our coasts in the House of Representatives, it is important to remember that the fight is not over. These bills have a long way to go in the Senate, and the Trump administration’s appalling proposal to open more than 90% of available U.S. federal waters to offshore oil and gas leasing still clouds our future.

“Perhaps the brightest silver lining to the administration’s dangerously short-sighted plan has been widespread opposition from governors in nearly all coastal states, 47,000 businesses, 2,200 elected officials, 500,000 fishing families and tens of thousands of ocean advocates. Ocean Conservancy is committed to building on this momentum.

“We call on Congress to reject the ‘energy dominance’ rhetoric, which doubles-down on fossil fuel dependence and comes at the expense of people’s lives and livelihoods. Instead of expanding risky offshore drilling, America needs to focus on increasing investments in renewable energy and cutting our carbon emissions.”

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Janis Searles Jones is available for comment upon request.

NOTES TO EDITOR:

  • More than 90% of U.S. federal waters were earmarked for offshore oil and gas development in the proposal released in January 2018, including areas that had little or no potential for offshore oil and gas development.
  • The House Natural Resources Committee approved both bills with bipartisan support in June 2019.
  • An IPCC report says our window is rapidly closing for keeping our planet from warming above 1.5°C and avoiding devastating impacts.
  • Gulf of Mexico:
    • In the Gulf region, commercial and recreational fisheries generated 263,000 jobs, $34.3 billion in sales impacts, $9.6 billion in income, and $15.7 billion in value-added impacts (these numbers includes imports and the whole state of FL) according to the Fisheries Economics of the United States, 2016 report.
    • The Department of Defense (DoD) is opposed to oil and gas activities in the eastern Gulf and has stated that the area under GOMESA moratorium “is an irreplaceable national asset used by DOD to develop and maintain the readiness of our combat force.”
  • Alaska:
    • The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management recognized that there is little or no potential for development in most of the Planning Areas in Alaska, and that many of the Bering Sea Planning Areas contain negligible amounts of oil and gas.
    • The Alaska congressional delegation, Governor Walker, the Alaska House of Representatives, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, tribes, and others submitted letters opposing leasing in many of the areas in Alaska.
  • Pacific:
    • In the Pacific Region, commercial and recreational fisheries generated 221,000 jobs, $34.4 billion in sales impacts, $8.5 billion in income, and $13.6 billion in value-added impacts (this includes imports) according to the Fisheries Economics of the United States, 2016 report.
  • Atlantic Coast (Mid-Atlantic and NE):
    • In the Atlantic region, commercial and recreational fisheries generated 314,000 jobs, $33.4 billion in sales impacts, $9.6 billion in income, and $14.9 billion in value-added impacts (these numbers includes imports) according to the Fisheries Economics of the United States, 2016 report.

 

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.